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17 months off and the nocturnal panic attacks are still plaguing me. It happens like this:

I fall asleep (eventually) and wake to use the bathroom and within a couple minutes I start feeling strange and tingly all over. Then I get dizzy and feel a huge push pull in my brain. Then my feet start feeling like they are falling asleep. Then my heart starts racing. It repeated 4 times in 30 minutes. This happened at 4:30 am. Sometimes it happens around 1:00 am. It's absolutely terrifying and feels unending. Why is this still happening? I don't know how much longer I can take this torture. I've been crying all morning. Anyone else have these episodes? I feel alone.

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Hi tidefan,

 

I'm so sorry you're suffering with clusters of panic attacks during the night.  I can understand why you've been crying all morning - your sleep is broken and the panic attacks themselves are hellish - it's so unfair to be afflicted with this when you're only trying to get better.

 

As you know, the fear center of our brains go into overdrive trying to find equilibrium after being suppressed with benzos and it can take a lot of time for this healing to happen.  I found that understanding the why of it helped me cope with it when I was going through cluster panic attacks.

 

This piece is worth returning to again and again- What's happening inside your brain

 

Now is the time to take extra good care of yourself. 

Remember many members only start to experience a lot of their healing well after the first year.

 

I wish you much healing,

Brighterday

 

 

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Tidefan,

 

The timing of your panic attacks may have to do with the cortisol rising but what you describe seems more like a conditioned trigger now.  I had to find ways to circumvent many triggers during the first year of healing.  May I suggest switching your light bulbs to a red instead of your eyes seeing the  yellow light on when you use the bathroom? Also, I would get more panicky when I had not eaten so if changing the color of the light does not work then you may want to have a high protein snack by your bed to eat as soon as you wake up.  That helped me too.  If you understand HOW the panic attack is triggered and take some pro-active steps to avoid it then it may help your brain to calm down with just this intention.

 

Jenny K

 

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It sounds like a typical cortisol surge. I wake up daily between 2-4 am with hot sweats and wide awake. It takes 1.5-2 hours to subside. Try eating a slow digesting carb with protein before bed, i.e. oats and peanut butter. You can try phosphatidyl serine, but it didn’t work for me.
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That and not many ppl seem to reply to my posts. It makes me feel like I'm alone 😔

 

I know it can be disappointing to reach out and not get a response right away.  Please try not to take it personally - remember, just about everyone here is dealing with withdrawal too and doing the best they can.  Keep reaching out!  :)

 

Wishing you much healing.

 

Take care,

Brighterday

 

 

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At 27 months I wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 with severe burning, shaking, agitation and morbid thoughts - no sleep after that
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tide fan:  you ar totally describing the sleep nightmares I've been in for over a year (caused by benzo tolerance..) BUT..

 

its been improving. I say this to encourage you that I never thought it would end. I still have it but it has decreased  A LOT!! So much that I know good things are happening. When I have bad symptom days, it seems to be worse ( like everything clusters together those days).

 

On those days I'm usually crying before the sun comes out. It's torture. I'm so sorry  - I do understand. But I write to give you hope that it can/will improve.

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Everyday when I start to think that I'm better, I get reminded of the night and how I'm not even close. Yeah my daytime sometimes have gotten much better, probably at about 80% at this point at 9 months out. But at night time, if I'm not sleeping the whole night, I'm living in hell and panicking instead. I don't exactly have panic attacks, but whatever it is is very similar, intense anxiety and complete confusion and burning and shaking. I get it during the daytime a little bit, just not nearly as bad. And the weird part is it doesn't really seem to have a pattern, because I can go a couple days without getting much sleep at all and having intense symptoms at night, and then sleep really good the next couple nights. But part of the weird thing about it is I will be completely Dazed and Confused and tired while panicking. Like I want to go to sleep but can't because of the symptoms. Or if I'm up walking around, I will be doing everything in fast forward and walking really fast and drinking my water really fast and spilling it and I will be really dazed and dizzy. And whenever that's going on, I usually can't lay under my covers because I feel like the heaters on.
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Thanks so much for the replies 🙏 Im so sorry we're either all going through this nightmare or have been through it, but take solace in knowing we are not alone and will/have gotten through it together. I truly care About each and every One of you 💛💝
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Whoa! I used to get a VERY similar set of symptoms like that, it's terrifying and bewildering right? I haven't had one of those early morning panic attack like things for more than a year now. It just naturally stopped for me, but I take half my blood pressure medication (beta blocker) before bed too, which always helped suppress that kind of thing. Hang in there! It will go away.
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Tidefan,

 

Mattlovescats brings up the subject of taking a beta blocker (propranolol) to help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety/ panic attacks.  Many of us have had our doctors prescribe a low dose of propranolol (20mg for example) to be taken as needed.  It can help reduce symptoms like cortisol/adrenaline rushes and palpitations. 

 

It may be worth discussing this with your doctor.  If you do go that route you will want to be careful to take the propranolol only as needed - some people here have reported becoming dependent on it and having trouble tapering off. 

 

Take care,

Brighterday

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I take propranolol extended release 160 mg in the morning and also at night, so that's 320 total. I'm starting to think I should cut back to one extended-release capsule per day. Last time I ran out of it was during the hurricane because I couldn't get to the pharmacy, and I was shaking severely and getting all kinds of blood rushes to my head. It was pretty scary. Pretty bad withdrawal symptoms from a beta blocker. And then I researched it, and it says you can die. You can have a heart attack and I believe it. I was put on that 20 years ago for anxiety and tremor. It did help tremendously, but I don't know if it was a good idea. Now I'm going to have a hard time getting off of that also.
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I used to have panic attacks while sleeping and waking up jolted and alarmed. Interestingly it wasn't fear or panic I felt, almost like just my body acted out without any particular reason. I did not have nightmare or negative thoughts or anything, just jumping up from my sleep like in the movies. Rapid heart beat, rapid breathing, I even remember my eardrums fluttering. These symptoms lasted about 2 months. Had them about 2-3 times a week.
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Tidefan, I just wanted to mention, on the weekends, a lot of times people are not on bb nearly as much, but usually by Monday, it will pick up and you will usually get lots of answers.  You aren't alone, I promise. We will show up  :D.  Good luck!  Mary 💜
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Sherpa, what you described as night terrors. It's when your body involuntarily panics while you're sleeping. There's really no reason for it. I've been having those the past couple months. Every night when I wake up, my body is in a physical panic and I have to walk around all fast and drink water fast and use the bathroom fast and everything else, it's all in super fast motion. Sometimes I even run into things. I don't know why I can't slow down when I'm doing it. They usually last a couple hours and then I start to get my act together and go back to sleep, sometimes at least. What I'm thinking is I never used to have them because I was taking benzos, and now I'm having them without the benzos.
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